CEDAR HILLS — A man was buried in dirt and mud for nearly four hours on Monday after the utility trench he was working in collapsed on top of him while making repairs to a sewer pipe.
The company involved, Apollo Drain & Rooter Service of Gresham says the trench was properly shored and the collapse was a freak accident.
“The shoring that was in the trench is the OSHA approved type shoring for the soil type and for that job,” said the company’s owner Scott Bird.
He added that the trench may have collapsed due to the recent rain. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is investigating.
A crowd that gathered near the site to watch the spectacle cheered when Danny Russu was finally lifted to safety. He’s in serious condition under the intensive care of doctors.
“You sit here and know the guy is in a major situation and all you can do is just keep your fingers crossed and hopefully it turns out like it’s supposed to,” said a neighbor who heard cries for help and called 911.
Three men were working on the sewer line in a residential neighborhood on Southwest Bowmont Street when the trench collapsed. Two of them escaped the 11′ deep hole, but the third was buried in debris. Co-workers uncovered the man’s face so he could breathe again.
While crews worked to remove the dirt around him, paramedics provided fluids and oxygen to keep him conscious.